Professor D.R. Johnson
October 14, 2013
Explain Kant’s Moral Rule: “Only act according to maxims one can rationally will to be Universal” Immanuel Kant’s “moral rule” is that all actions ought to be done that are required by a moral law. “The starting point for appreciating that there is a distinctive part of our psychology for morality is seeing how moral judgments differ from other kinds of opinions we have on how people ought to behave. Moralization is a psychological state that can be turned on and off like a switch, and when it is on, a distinctive mind-set commandeers our thinking. This is the mind-set that makes us deem actions immoral i.e. (“killing is wrong”), rather than merely disagreeable (“I hate brussels sprouts”), unfashionable (“bell-bottoms are out”) or imprudent (“don’t scratch mosquito bites”)” (NY Times 01/13/08.internet). Moralization is that the rules it invokes are felt to be universal. Prohibitions of rape and murder, for example, are felt not to be matters of local custom but to be universally and objectively warranted. One can easily say, “I don’t like brussels sprouts, but I don’t care if you eat them,” but no one would say, “I don’t like killing, but I don’t care if you murder someone.”(NY Times 01/13/08.internet). “Kant declares that it is in this manner …we understand Scripture …we are commanded to love our neighbor, even our enemy” (p.101 para 1). Kant theorizes that moral law applies to everyone and is universally binding. He proclaims that this is a good will which is already present in the person who acts accordingly, and we have not to wait for it to appear first in the result. … He theorizes that it is our moral duty to produce good will through our actions and to only act according to maxims, one can rationally will to be universal (p.102). Kant defines good will as pure rational reason based on moral laws. He advocates compliance - “and suggest this is the condition of a...
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